How to Make Pemmican at Home: The Ultimate Survival Food

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How to Make Pemmican at Home: The Ultimate Survival Food

Native Americans figure out how to make pemmican hundreds of years ago. It’s a survival food that is easily made at home. Many experts consider pemmican to be the ultimate survival food because it lasts for years, potentially decades, without spoiling.

That’s reason enough to try making pemmican at home. 

Pemmican is excellent for bug out bags, home food storage preps, camping trips, backpacking, and caches. Let’s take a look at what pemmican is and how to make pemmican at home. It’s easier than you imagine! 

What is Pemmican?

Native Americans developed pemmican years ago, and the European settlers discovered this treat and quickly learned how to make it. Pemmican is a concentrated blend of fat and protein created from lean, dried meat. 

Traditionally, the meats used to make pemmican included bison, moose, deer, and elk, but nowadays, beef is the most common meat because it’s readily available. The key is that the meat must have natural fat, so lean meats like rabbit won’t work to make pemmican. 

Preppers often talk about how long does pemmican last; it’s one of the few homemade foods that last for years, potentially decades. It has such a long shelf life because the fat is rendered correctly from the meat. After the processing, pemmicans stores well in an airtight container without refrigeration, so long as you keep it in a cool, dark, dry location. 

Some reports say that their pemmican lasted over 50 years. Other than honey, what other food do you know that lasts this long?

Why is Pemmican a Good Survival Food?

Pemmican is a fantastic survival food for bug-out bags and survivalists. Not only is the pemmican shelf life potentially decades, but it’s full of proteins and good fats that your body needs in a survival situation. 

Unlike MREs, pemmican is easily made at home; you can make it out of almost any meat. A bonus is that pemmican tastes good as well. While that might not be the biggest factor because calories mean more than flavor when it comes to survival food, it’s nice to eat food that tastes good. 

Pemmican is lightweight and easily transported. You can take it anywhere you go, even if you aren’t bugging out. It’s an excellent snack for outdoor adventures, such as hunting or backpacking trips. It works well anytime that you’re outside and needs to stay fueled with calories. 

Pemmican Recipe

Here is the pemmican recipe to make yourself at home; it’s easier than you think. 


  • Meat with natural fat (caribou, venison, elk, beef, moose, pork – rabbit, and fish will not work)
  • Nuts
  • Dried Fruits 
  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Peanut Butter 

Many of these ingredients are optional. All you need is meat with natural fat. 

How to Make Pemmican

  1. Cut The Meat

Cut off as much of the fat on the meat as possible, and then slice it as thinly as possible. 

  1. Dry The Meat

Now it’s time to dry the meat. A dehydrator or oven works fine for this. Place the sliced meat on a drying rack in the sunlight or on your oven rack with the oven set at the lowest setting possible. This step takes a long time; continue to check your dried meat until it’s dried enough that it cracks when you bend it in half. 

  1. Grind the Meat 

The next step is to grind the meat, forming a powder. It’s easiest to use a meat grinder for this step, but a food processor works as well. If you use a food processor or blender, chop it into small pieces and grind until it turns into a powder. This step is possible without any appliance, but you’ll need to grind it into a powder manually. 

  1. Render The Fat

After taking care of the meat, it’s time to pay attention to the fat that you removed from the meat in the first step. Put it into a slow cooker or on the stove on a low setting. A slow cooker works the best for this step. 

All you have to do is stir the fat occasionally until it stops bubbling. Then, pour it through a strainer to filter out pieces. 

  1. Mix in Extra Dried Ingredients

Many like to include nuts or dried fruit with their pemmican recipe, but these ingredients might reduce the pemmican shelf life. Dried ingredients that go well with pemmican include:

  • Raisins 
  • Dried blueberries
  • Dried mangos 
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Dried Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Spices – Paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, rosemary

All you have to do is mix these ingredients with the dried meat in a large bowl. Make sure you have plenty of space to add in the melted fat and other wet ingredients. 

  1. Add The Fat Back

After mixing in the dried ingredients, add one part of fat for every two parts of the dried meat mixture. Make sure to measure out the melted fat, or the pemmican won’t turn out correctly. Stir well each time you mix in the hot fat. 

  1. Add Extra Wet Ingredients

You also can add extra wet ingredients, but it reduces the shelf life of pemmican. Wet ingredients that work well when added to pemmican include:

  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Peanut Butter
  • Almond Butter 
  1. Form and Let Dry Out 

The easiest way to form pemmican is to spread it out in a casserole dish lined with parchment paper for easy removal. It takes time to get firm, and then you may cut it into squares or bar size. Some prefer to form the mixture into balls and let the balls dry. 

How to Store Pemmican 

Once you cut the pemmican into the desired size and shape, make sure to store the pemmican in airtight containers. Store pemmican in a cool, dark, and dry place to extend its shelf life for as long as possible. Another option is to store your pemmican in zippered plastic bags inside of the freezer. 

The best way to ensure proper storage of pemmican is to use a vacuum sealer. This ensures the highest quality of food storage because it removes as much oxygen as possible, which leads to spoiling. 


Every prepper needs to learn how to make pemmican for their bug out bag and survival food stockpile. Pemmican is the ultimate prepper food, capable of lasting for decades without changing flavor or texture while also being packed full of calories. 

Luckily pemmican is easy to make and quite delicious. Have you tried making homemade pemmican yet?

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